Thermal Imaging

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360° Medicine is excited to offer Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging, a 21st-century early detection tool that is completely safe, non-invasive, painless and amazingly accurate. It simply involves taking digital images with a specialized infrared camera. Yet it can detect an extensive range of health problems, from breast and other forms of cancer, to conditions like inflammation, infections, injuries, arthritis, sinusitis, nerve damage, lymph congestion, whiplash, back pain and more.

Thermography can be used to individualize the use of many of the restorative therapies we offer at 360° Medicine. Your thermographic images can be helpful in recommending targeted regenerative injection therapies, nutritional supplementation, frequency specific microcurrent, pulsed electro-magnetic field therapy, chiropractic and even ozone treatments at our center.

Thermography vs. Conventional Mammography

Since 1982, thermography has been an FDA-approved breast screening procedure. Mammograms are the standard of care, however, and are routinely recommended by physicians and the US Preventive Taskforce. They involve taking two x-ray films of each breast and deliver a cumulative 1 rad (radiation absorbed dose) of ionizing radiation exposure to sensitive glandular breast tissue. This exposure is approximately 1,000 times greater than the radiation delivered to the breasts from a chest x-ray that is broadly focused on the entire chest rather than narrowly on the breasts.

Premenopausal breast tissue is the most sensitive to ionizing radiation. Dr. Samuel Epstein, one of the world's top cancer experts, has stated it is estimated that each 1 rad exposure increases breast cancer risk by about 1 percent. A decade of annual screening may add up to a cumulative 10 percent increased risk of developing cancer.

There are hundreds of research studies proving that radiation predictably damages the DNA in our cells, especially with repeated exposure. Dr. Joseph Mercola has been an important independent voice in recent years, getting the information to women that the practice of having many screening mammograms over a lifetime can actually contribute to cancer development. Even the more conservative Institute of Medicine is now acknowledging the toxic effects of mammogram radiation as a significant factor in the development of breast cancer.

In addition to the radiation exposure, mammograms require physical compression. In order to obtain the x-ray image, the mammography technician must tightly, and often painfully, compress the breast tissue against a radiographic plate, which can allow any existing malignant cells to spread.

Another major limitation of mammography is its difficulty in diagnosing cancer in women with dense breast tissue. Inconclusive readings of these mammograms are more common and women may be told to have another one in just six months. The density of the breast will not change in that period of time, though, and increasing the frequency of mammograms increases the exposure risks.
All women can benefit from thermographic breast screening. It is especially appropriate, however, for women between ages 30 and 50 whose denser breast tissue makes it more difficult for mammography to be effective. Thermography may be particularly useful for young women who want to monitor their breast health before the recommended age of 40, starting breast cancer screening quite early.
Mammograms can provide inaccurate readings. A recent study by The Harvard School of Public Health revealed that mammograms can contribute to a high rate of cancer overdiagnosis. The National Cancer Institute estimates that the risk of a false positive finding is about 40%, which leads to unnecessary psychological stress as well as scans, biopsies, lumpectomies, mastectomies, chemotherapy and radiation for cancer, when in fact the areas in question wouldn't have caused any symptoms or adverse health consequences.

Eighty percent of the million breast biopsies performed each year in the US because of a suspicious mammogram are negative for cancer, but mainstream medicine keeps recommending screening mammograms. A $150 mammogram for all U.S. women over 50 and a $1,000 biopsy for 1 to 2 million women is an $8 billion per year industry.

In addition, no compelling research evidence exists to show that mammograms save lives on an overall population level. There are clearly individual cases where a mammogram detects a true cancer in a valuable way, but statistically, breast cancer mortality is the same for those who have had mammograms as those who have not had them. 

We recommend thermography for every woman planning to start bioequivalent hormone replacement therapy. A baseline set of breast images is taken before starting on hormones and a follow up thermogram is done after the initial six months of hormone replacement. In this way, we can monitor changes in level of breast inflammation.

Breast thermography is not promoted here as a replacement for mammography. Rather, we want to inform women about their options regarding the prevention of breast cancer. Many women choose thermography for early detection of breast abnormalities as well as for monitoring of numerous other medical conditions and physical injuries.

Thermography has been proven to be a very accurate way to diagnose and monitor a wide range of medical conditions. A well-maintained website that lists the many research studies validating medical thermography can be found here.

Inflammation: An Early Warning

We know that inflammation is an early sign of many serious diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. Simply put, underlying inflammation tends to precede chronic medical conditions. Digital thermography specifically measures this inflammation before concerning illnesses develop. Targeted natural medicine solutions can be implemented to actually reduce the particular type of inflammation seen on your thermogram, potentially averting disease.

Targeting Pain

Whether your pain is acute or chronic, thermography can help provide answers to your particular pain issue. Thermography is the only available method of directly visualizing the bodily locations of pain. It also works well with other diagnostic scans including MRI, CT scan, ultrasound and x-ray. And while other tools can be useful in assessing detailed structures in the body, thermography is the only one that measures physiological changes and metabolic processes.

Thermography is helpful in documenting the physiologic changes in whiplash and personal injury cases. Other pain syndromes detectable by digital thermography include muscular dysfunction, fibromyalgia and bony arthritis, as well as nerve damage and neuropathic pain syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome and even complex regional pain syndromes.

Furthermore, in our holistic medicine clinic, we can target healing pain management therapies from frequency medicine to nutrient and ozone injections precisely where the metabolic disturbances are confirmed on the thermographic images.

More Conditions Thermography Can Detect

Thermography screenings can determine how well your heart and blood vessels function. Inflammation of the carotid arteries in the neck is often associated with plaque in the artery that could lead to impaired blood flow, clot formation and even stroke. Inflamed varicose veins and peripheral vascular disease, which affects blood flow to the extremities, are conditions that can be detected on a thermogram. Therapies can then be targeted to improve the health of the irritated arteries or veins.

Thermography is a powerful tool for detecting the early stages of other conditions including sinus congestion and headaches, dental problems, immune dysfunction, chronic fatigue syndrome and digestive disorders. This metabolic information can even uncover underlying infections, and can be critical to understanding why a person may be chronically ill.

The Thermographic Process

Medical thermography is a unique physiological study and has been in use since the early 1970’s. Modern Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging is one of the best ways to detect even the earliest changes in abnormal physiological functioning.

The infrared camera measures your body’s surface temperature, presenting the information as a digitized image. It detects heat emitted by the body in the form of infrared radiation. The camera is able to detect these physiological changes without any physical contact with the area being imaged. No breast compression is needed. The infrared camera doesn’t send any signal, either. It receives information only, and no dangerous radiation or magnetic field energy is delivered.
The thermal images are analyzed for abnormalities that may be signs of disease in your body. Small temperature variations are compared for patterns between the right and left sides of the body. Because a normal, healthy body has a high degree of thermal symmetry, it's easy to identify subtle abnormal temperature asymmetry. Medical thermography is a diagnostic technique that allows an examiner to visualize and quantify changes in skin surface temperature in order to detect an extensive range of health problems. For example, thermal pain patterns "light up" as white and red hot in thermograms of problem areas.

Local areas of increased heat can be caused by a greater blood supply to that area. Cancer cells have an ability to create new blood vessels to the affected area in order to satisfy the increased demand for nutrients resulting from the higher rate of growth and metabolic demands of this cluster of abnormally dividing cells. It has also been found that even a cluster of a few thousand cancer cells in the earliest stages of disease secrete nitric oxide, a powerful vasodilator, in order to increase circulation to the area.

Physiological changes can precede anatomical mammographic detection by seven to ten years. Mammography cannot detect a tumor until after it has been growing for years and attains a certain size. Thermography can detect the possibility of breast cancer significantly earlier, because it can image the early stages of increased blood supply to cancer cells, which is a necessary step before cancer can grow into a detectable size tumor.

Thus, thermograms can provide information that enables us to react early in a preventative way that may even halt the development of overt cancer. The images will be interpreted by the thermologist as indicating normal, low, moderate or higher risk. A holistic medicine program is then implemented in order to prevent the formation of overt cancer.

During the procedure, your nurse takes digital thermographic pictures that reveal changes in skin surface temperature with the infrared scanning camera. The camera converts infrared radiation emitted from the skin surface into electrical impulses that graphically map the body's temperature in color on a computer monitor.

Thermograms can detect breast pathology—whether cancer, fibrocystic disease, an infection or vascular disease—even when a mammogram would yield normal results in the same area. Thermograms also detect dental and sinus infections as well as vascular abnormalities from varicose veins to blood clots. The clinical imaging procedure reveals even the subtlest physiological changes. It also reveals the combined effects of the autonomic nervous system, the muscles, the vascular system down to capillary dysfunctions, the lymphatics and even the condition of hormone balance.

Thermography findings are used both for diagnosis and prognosis, as well as monitoring therapy progress. We send the images to a certified physician Thermologist for professional interpretation and reporting. Our clinic or your primary care provider can then target the problem areas with restorative care. With early detection, you receive the earliest possible treatment, allowing you to plan the best program for further diagnosis and for monitoring your progress during and after treatment.

Your initial thermographic images create your baseline physiological fingerprint. Subsequent studies are always compared to your digitally archived prior studies for the most sensitive assessment of metabolic changes. It's a good idea to have thermograms done annually in order to monitor your health and detect evolving changes from your own body's norm.

The two main values of thermography are
Feedback: lets you know how you are doing with therapy and if you’re getting better or worse.
Prevention: helps identify potential metabolic disturbances. For example, thermography is not trying to mimic a mammogram, looking for cancers. A thermographic study is different. It is meant to let a woman know 1-2 years before the cancer that she may be at risk, allowing her to improve her breast health. Mammograms are for after the fact and only become useful once the cancer has grown to a size the x-ray image can see.

Staying Healthy

If a breast thermogram reveals low-level abnormalities suggestive of underlying inflammation, we can frequently treat the problem with relatively simple, cost effective natural medicine solutions. Cancer is now the disease most likely to lead to your death. It recently passed heart disease as the #1 killer. If you are a woman, breast cancer is the type of cancer you are most likely to get. Our increasingly polluted and toxic environment is much to blame for rising cancer rates. More than 200 chemicals – many found in urban air and everyday consumer products – cause breast cancer in animal tests. Based on these inevitable exposures to dangerous chemicals and other pollutants, we feel that detoxification measures are a cornerstone of good preventive medicine.

Eat a minimally processed, organic diet every day, including generous portions of colorful vegetables. We recommend a low glycemic approach with a modest intake of refined grains. A periodic liver cleanse is a great way to improve the mobilization of toxins from the body. Avoid toxic, chemical estrogens such as bovine growth hormones in commercial beef and dairy.

Plastics have been linked to causing breast cancer in women and reduced sperm counts in men. Also, avoid significant amounts of unfermented soy products, which could increase your risk for breast cancer.

Iodine and cruciferous vegetable extracts like DIM can correct inflammation around estrogen metabolism and can prevent breast cancer. Vitamin D3, actually a steroid hormone and not a vitamin, affects every single cell in your body, making the immune system more able to repair damage and destroy cancer cells. Vitamin A compounds can prevent breast cancer when obtained in supplements and from foods, including raw butter, organic egg yolks and even organic beef and chicken liver.

If there is evidence of muscular inflammation on a thermogram of the back or neck, consider magnesium either orally or topically to relax muscles. Curcumin and omega 3 oils, especially krill oil that contains astaxanthin, are effective in reducing muscular inflammation. If lymphatic congestion is a concern on your thermogram, consider homeopathy and systemic enzymes to reduce the viscosity of the congested lymph.

Regular physical activity is another major key in reducing your risk of cancer and other inflammatory conditions. Finding lifelong activities you enjoy reduces circulating insulin levels, a hormone that contributes to the storage of fat and causes the growth and spread of cancers as well.

Instructions and Fees for Thermographic Procedures

Over the longer term, thermography can save you money by helping you identify and proactively treat underlying health imbalances as well as often avoiding the need for more expensive medical investigations and treatments.

We recommend you return for thermograms annually to watch for changes and monitor your health. Since everybody's body is different, the best way to detect problems is to measure changes from your baseline images. If there is a low-level concern on a breast thermogram, you may be asked to return 3 months after your baseline scan to establish the stability of your breasts’ vascular patterns. Active cancer cells double approximately every 90 days, so documenting stability in your images is a further reassuring finding. 

Please observe the following instructions for the hours preceding your thermographic appointment: 

1. No vigorous exercise for 2 hours before your appointment time
2. No excessively hot baths or showers 2 hours before
3. No topical lotions, oils or creams
4. Do not apply antiperspirant
5. No sunbathing or massage
6. No shaving on day of appointment
7. If you smoke, do not smoke 2 hours before your appointment time
8. Do not apply any makeup, oils or creams to the face if you are including it in the scan.

When you arrive for your thermogram, you will change into a gown and sit for ten minutes to adjust to the ambient room temperature. The room will be a controlled room temperature, as our camera doesn’t require the cold stressing needed with some older cameras.  If you hadn’t done so prior, you will be given some forms to fill out, so we can get a medical history and other pertinent information.  Our nurse will take the desired thermographic pictures, which usually takes less than 15 minutes. The images will be sent electronically to a certified physician Thermologist for interpretation.  You will receive your full-color images and the written report in approximately one week.

Please contact the office at (505) 795-7111 for more information on pricing and/or any questions you may have.